Reflections on 5 Unforgettable Years!

On March 15, 2007 the housing market was white hot and we had a great vision for a new and better way to practice real estate. Bella Casa Real Estate Group was birthed as a brand and the name was recorded as a new Limited Liability Company in Oregon. At the time, this cost some money but can now be done for free via INc Authority – find out more at In our mind, the business model was already alive and successful, and our prospects were exciting.

Four months later the bottom dropped out of the housing industry and we have been in free-fall for almost five years. We have lived through a series of disasters unprecedented since the Great Depression. The sub-prime mortgage mess of 2007 gave way to the financial/banking sector meltdown in 2008 which paralyzed the nation. Immediately In 2009 this set in motion a tsunami of business layoffs, consolidations, closures, bankruptcies and the unprecedented escalation of government spending. Debilitating unemployment next insured that by 2010 we were awash in foreclosures, short sales, and bank-owned properties; each one dragging down home values and the mass of them crippling the economy further. We capped that year with the crash of the commercial real estate market. 2011 gave us unprecedented spending and debt, stock market insecurity, Euro-threats, economic malaise, and otherwise hopelessness in a shell-shocked world. We are still awaiting recovery…

Not exactly what we were expecting!

Five years later, Bella Casa Real Estate Group is a well-known, highly respected brand, a home for 32 of our area’s most accomplished Realtors ® and with some of the most promising newer agents I have ever seen. 18 of our Realtors ® are Principal Brokers and 6 of our brokers have owned brokerages. We vie for top honors in all areas of sales, often owning the top sales numbers in most of the categories. We have grown each and every year in breadth and depth and we have expanded, swimming against the current. In 2010 we opened a second office in Newberg. We also added Bella Casa Property Management by quietly building our systems and developing our expertise in the background. Without any public notice, advertising or promotion to date, we now have 70 doors under the professional management of Gary Eckdahl, Principal Broker. On our 5th Anniversary, it is time to go public and grow those business services for the benefit of our clients.

What has changed? Everything.

The poles of our world flipped. Markets were unrecognizable. Normal methods were irrelevant and ineffective.

We had to adapt or die. We needed to educate ourselves about things we never heard of or had any experience with. We had to get creative and experiment with new ideas, adopt new practices and technologies such as marketing agents using an online review platform similar to Rate My Agent and the others available, and work like slaves many times longer and more diligently than ever in our lives. We had to practice persistence and patience which has stretched us to the limits.

Our incomes were sliced and diced. Life has been insecure and financial threats were common to us and our clients. We vicariously suffered the losses of others as we learned to work compassionately and empathetically with our clients and the victims of our times.

Near the top of the list of changes were all the fixes for all the causes of all that ails us. I am sure that I would be joined by throngs of Realtors ®, mortgage brokers, and title and escrow officers in saying the cure for all the ‘diseases’ has been exceedingly much crueler than the disease itself. The endless regulations reigning down on everyone like terrorist missiles have often been absurd beyond any amount of reason, damaging and destructive to the very people they were supposed to save, and frustrating beyond measure. They remain our greatest challenge to recovery and to any form of sanity. I could wax eloquent for hours…

But today, we have a great deal to be thankful for and to celebrate…

We began with a handful of Realtors ® who were looking for a new home for their businesses. With many more who followed we have built a collegial professional cooperative of good will for sharing generously with each other. Our Realtors ® have been the greatest source of encouragement and joy throughout the intense hardships, and they are the shared wisdom and expertise for adapting to radically different market conditions. Survival is something we could only accomplish together. Thank you!

Our clients have been amazingly loyal and gracious. Some have remained with us for years of feeling helpless and frustrated. They have trusted us and provided the motivation for us to work diligently to get the job done for them sooner rather than later, and to preserve their precious resources. We are all in this together. We are humbled by this trust as it is helping us to pay our bills. Thank you!

We work with great Realtor ® colleagues in order to make the few transactions a win-win. It takes two agents dedicated to being professional and patient to withstand all the insanities of this time. Together we have to figure out how to make it work for each of our clients and that means solving problems and challenging problems when they erupt. I worked with a great Realtor ® (not with BC) for 597 days to keep one transaction together so both our clients could get what they really wanted! We have an Association of Realtors ® (YCAR) which promotes professional cooperation for the benefit of our clients. In our association we come together without brands but as colleagues willing to help each other. Thank you!

We have amazing affiliated businesses (mortgage, title and escrow, inspectors, contractors, etc.) who contribute to our success everyday through their essential education classes, their willingness to personally train us on things related to their business, offer encouragement and friendship, and work with us for the betterment of our communities in events like the annual Realtor ® Charity Auction. Thank you!

“But for the grace of God, there go I.” We have seen real estate offices close, brokerages lose locations, and Realtors ® forced out of the industry by bankruptcy and foreclosure. While I am grateful for our successes, I cannot rejoice in the suffering of competitors. I know too intimately how difficult it is to build a business, how much money is put at risk, and how much sacrifice has been made to help employ others, serve the public, and support our families and build our dreams. It is literally blood, sweat, tears, and painful perseverance. I am personally grateful Bella Casa Real Estate Group is alive to celebrate five years with the good hope of many more to come. By all I could foresee by 2008, we should not have made it! We could never have anticipated such a storm or be prepared for such mighty blows. We have faced unbelievable losses too many, and some too personal to tell. For whatever the purpose we are the recipients of the grace of God who has provided our daily bread through just enough sales, and special assistance from people we never could have imagined. Thank you!

We have a bright future.

Surviving this perfect storm will make each of us even better in our profession. We are sobered. We are freshly committed to the fundamentals of prudent principles of sales and property ownership. We trust the seared memories of the carnage, the hurt, and the loss caused to so many people when some people cast off restraint and got intoxicated with money, success, or careless indulgence will for the rest of our lives make us wiser. There are also properties with joint ownership, as it is in the case of the timeshare. These are typically resorts or condominium units in which multiple parties have rights to use the property, and each owner of the same accommodation is assigned a time period. However, they are not required to be a part of that ownership if they believe they are not receiving a fair profit share. As a result, when it comes time to terminate the contract, the owners may contact timeshare exit companies. Timeshare exit companies assist owners in exiting or canceling their timeshares. They will usually have a team of lawyers dedicated to your case. The cost of services, as well as the outcomes, can vary greatly.

But still, even if you decide to exit, I am thankful and optimistic. I only regret that the demands of this housing depression and economic recession, and the lack of money and time, have taken away from us most opportunities to sponsor and support our local communities as we have in the past. We look forward to better days ahead for all of us and a return to generously sharing with the communities that allow us to make our living.

Tonight we celebrate our 5th Anniversary, join us from 4-7pm at our McMinnville location. We would love to see you!


Randy McCreith | 503-437-9005 | buy. sell. be happy.

Bella Casa Loves Art!

"Hers and His" Kim Hamblin

This Friday, in honor of Bella Casa Real Estate Group’s 5 year anniversary celebration, we will be featuring art at our Newberg office for the Newberg Downtown Art Walk event that is all part of our personal collection.  At Bella Casa Real Estate Group, it is our priority and our pleasure to decorate both our offices with truly unique and beautiful pieces of local art made by artists right here in Yamhill County and close surrounding areas.  Over the last 5 years, we have acquired quite the collection, and we look forward to sharing it with you.  While you enjoy this wonderful art, we will also offer complimentary wine tastings by J.Daan Wine Cellars, we will have some delicious appetizers, and we will have drawings for exciting prizes such as a Kindle Fire, 1 of 4 iPod touches, wine, local business gift certificates, art prints by Kim Hamblin, and more!

On display, we will have art by the following local artists:

Kim Hamblin
Susan Day
Carl Craig
Daryl Nelson
Kari Fahrenkopf
Bill Miller
Phyllis Meyer
David Atkinson

Kris Horn
Corby Stonebrake-Soles
Jeanne Cuddeford
Hannelore Fischer
Kathleen Buck
Myrna Anderson
Elizabeth Berg
Anna Tewes

John Casey
Cindy Stinson-Chennell
Phyllice Bradner
Susan Fey

On the first Friday of every month the very best of local art is on display – all in one centralized location! You’ll see talent that has been encouraged and developed by our very own landscape – the vineyards, the mountains, the buildings, the people… It’s nothing short of inspiring. And although the art is the reason we gather, it gives an opportunity for tasting fantastic local wines and engaging with others our community. You won’t be disappointed if you do come out for a few hours. You’ll be surprised by how much fun it is and impressed by everything that Yamhill County has to offer.  We look forward to meeting you at Bella Casa Real Estate Group!

J. Daan Wines Featured at our 5th Anniversary Celebration in Newberg

This Friday, March 2nd from 5 to 9 pm, we are pleased to feature complimentary wines tastings to each of our guests at Newberg Downtown Art Walk.  Though we have the pleasure of participating in Art Walk each month, this month is especially exciting because we are celebrating Bella Casa Real Estate Group’s 5th Anniversary as a 100% locally owned business!!  We will feature local art all part of Bella Casa’s private collection, as well as have delicious appetizers and have drawings for prizes including a Kindle Fire, 1 of 4 iPod shuffles, wine, art prints by Kim Hamblin, and many gift certificates to local businesses.

We are also thrilled to welcome back Justin and Megan Van Zanten to feature J. Daan Wine Cellars, a family owned, boutique winery.  Here is a little bit about J. Daan and the Van Zanten’s taken from their website,

J. Daan is a boutique, family-owned winery in the Willamette Valley

Justin and Megan Van Zanten

Justin and Megan Van Zanten were twenty-three years old when they started J. Daan Wine Cellars.  Justin had been working as a cellar assistant at a Willamette Valley winery and envisioned a family winery of his own.  He started with a modest 100 cases of 2003 Willamette Valley Pinot noir ($18/bottle).  Robert Parker noted Justin’s effort, “…the 2003 Pinot noir, his first release, is outstanding…”  Today, Justin and Megan produce 1200 cases a year and have added Rhone varietals to their repertoire.  Justin’s most recent Pinot noir, the 2009 Willamette Valley, was described as “…a primer for what should be looked for in Pinot’s essential elements…” by Oregon Wine Press.

The Van Zanten’s have worked to maintain prices that allow a variety of wine lovers to enjoy their wines.  Their 2009 Willamette Valley Pinot noir was listed as a “Value Pick” by Oregon

J. Daan Wine Cellars

Wine Press ($20/bottle).  They view winemaking as a tribute to simpler living and hope that their wines will play a part in reconnecting food, family, and the earth.  Their own extended family has played a huge part in the project– offering support, free labor, and lots of good meals.

Justin and Megan are proud to a part of a wine region that focuses on sustainable and ethical vineyard practices.  They believe in small, responsible business so that you can feel good about every sip.

On the first Friday of every month the very best of local art is on display – all in one centralized location! You’ll see talent that has been encouraged and developed by our very own landscape – the vineyards, the mountains, the buildings, the people… It’s nothing short of inspiring. And although the art is the reason we gather, it gives an opportunity for tasting fantastic local wines and engaging with others our community. You won’t be disappointed if you do come out for a few hours. You’ll be surprised by how much fun it is and impressed by everything that Yamhill County has to offer.  We look forward to meeting you at Bella Casa Real Estate Group!

Bella Casa 5 Year Anniversary Event

To celebrate our 5 year anniversary we are hosting two community open house events! Stop in, taste some wine, enjoy some food… Our personal art collection from years of enjoying Yamhill County’s many talented local artists will be on display at both locations. We’d love to see you!

Drawings for prizes include a Kindle Fire, 1 of 4 iPod shuffles, gift certificates to local restaurants and coffee shops, local wine, and much more! Free gift for everyone who comes!*

*limit one free gift per family. while supplies last.